According to a report from Ria Novosti, an official from the Russian government expressed astonishment over Canada's statements regarding the flight of a TU-160.
Defense minister, Peter McKay, announced today that a pair of Canadian CF-18 fighter jets were scrambled on February 18, in order to force the Russian bomber to make a U-turn as it approached Canadian airspace. McKay said the move was a "strong coincidence", as it had happened with less than 24 hours before US President Barack Obama visited Ottawa.
"The Canadian defense minister's statements concerning the flights of our long-haul aircraft are totally unclear... This was a routine flight. The countries adjacent to the flight path had been notified and the planes did not violate the airspace of other countries. In this light the statements by the Canadian Defense Ministry provoke astonishment and can only be called a farce," the unnamed source said.
Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesman for Russia's Defense Ministry, confirmed that all neighbors were notified in advance of the flights.
The CBC's report states that the flight occurred three days prior to Obama's visit, and that Russia had denied the bomber had 'approached' North American airspace.
"All the international flights regulations were strictly respected," Drobyshevsky said in a statement. "Therefore, the very possibility of a violation of Canadian airspace is out of question. The adjacent countries were informed of that flight in good time."
"It was a routine flight over international airspace," he told CBC.
Russian strategic flights, which were quite common during the 'cold war' era, have resumed in the past few years due to fears of US imperial expansion, and Bush administration terror policies.
Ria Novosti - http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090227/120351925.html